Sea Bright is one of the first of the hardest hit shore towns to be ready to rebuild from Hurricane Sandy!
It’s almost a cruel joke that the catastrophic storm was named Hurricane Sandy, because sand was one of rebuilding’s most formidable obstacles. But even in the midst of chaos there are lucky breaks.
One such break was one of the several Stavola brothers, who owns Driftwood Cabana Club in Sea Bright, Mike, owns an excavation and paving businesses in New Jersey. Mike brought his heavy equipment (the kind of huge equipment you see on the interstate highways) in to build birms in front of his beach club and he and his brothers (Bill, Jesse and Robert,) volunteered to help Sea Bright to build birms along its beaches before the storm struck Sea Bright.
The storm slammed into the shore town. Over 75 percent of structures received major damage and covered the town with three to five feet of sand on all roadways on the narrow strip, including the main artery, State Highway 36. Mike Stavola’s original equipment pre-Sandy is still there and much more since. He and his crew from Cardinal Contracting Company, Tabernacle, NJ, have been operating for more than 2 weeks 24 hours a day to help dig out Sea Bright from under the sand and debris.
Even before the town had time to do anything Mike and his brothers asked what they could do and immediately set about plowing through the sand to make fire lanes at the very least.
“The sand was so deep everything was getting stuck in the sand including fire trucks,” said Mike. “Making fire lanes was our first concern,” he explained.
The end result was clear, passable streets and a mountain of sand in the municipal parking lot that at its highest was more than100 feet tall! The bulldozers, dump trucks, frontend loaders, excavators, a giant sand sifter that every inch of sand passed through to catch any debris have worked 24 hours a day and helped to make Sea Bright the first of the hardest hit shore towns ready for rebuild.
“The Stavola brothers just stepped in and it made the difference, so that we are now the first shore town ready for rebuild,” said Mayor Dina Long. “Everyone worked together to get the town ready for rebuild,” she said.
The town, which was closed to the public since the hurricane, was opened to traffic yesterday, November 14, 2012. All utilities are working.
Did the pre-storm sand birms work? Well, Driftwood is still there and the majority of it is structurally sound. Ama Ristorante at Driftwood, that recently opened on September 14 on the second level of the beach club remains intact. In fact the tables, which were set the night before the storm, are still set and look as if nothing happened around them. The restaurant will be up and running as soon as possible.